Tech commentator Leo LaPorte and TechCrunch's Michael Arrington were doing yesterday's Gillmor Gang show when Arrington provoked LaPorte over free-product disclosures. LaPorte freaked out and shut down the show, but not before spewing colorful invective at Arrington first.
Yesterday's Gillmor Gang topic: the Palm Pre. Things started out nice enough when LaPorte - who owns and operates netcast network TWiT.tv, on which the show is featured - was discussing how much he enjoyed his new toy. Arrington, sounding a little bitter about not having one, asks LaPorte whether or not he got his for free. LaPorte notes that yeah, he did, but that he wasn't the only one! Arrington notes it to be on the record, and that's when LaPorte really gets pissed, especially over the implication that the fact that he got the thing for free would ever influence his review over a highly coveted tech product! Arrington chuckles back: "What're you gonna do about it?" That's when LaPorte lets loose, and promptly shuts the show down:
Glorious, no? The program, as you can tell, actually did get shut down. Arrington later went on TechCrunch to issue an apology to LaPorte, explaining that he didn't at all intend to provoke him, and that he was just joshin' him:
I've had a lot of interactions with [LaPorte] and they've always been positive. Or at least I thought so. I wasn't watching the video live during the show and I really thought Leo was joking until the very end (as did Steve Gillmor and Loren Feldman, who were chuckling in the video). My "what are you going to do about it" comment doesn't sound so great in hindsight. But I really did just think he was joking around.
It gets better, though: Arrington noted at the end of his apology post on TechCrunch that comments were going to be moderated. LaPorte kindly comments on Arrington's post with a mutual apology for the snapping:
Thanks for the post, Mike. Apology accepted. Now that I know what was going on in your mind, I apologize to you.
There seems to be something about the Gillmor Gang that just engenders over the top passion. I'm embarrassed by my overreaction. Peace.
But it ain't over, yet, because the commenters are pissed about being moderated by Arrington! Arrington, who has received numerous death threats before over his site, responds thusly:
Many comments are complaining about comment moderation. This isn't about free speech. It's about dozens of death threats and hundreds of others saying pretty horrible things about one of of us. You may think that your comment needs to get heard and that calling for someone to die shouldn't be taken seriously. But multiply that by hundreds and maybe you'll get a sense of this. I was rude. I made the problem worse by saying things because I thought he was play-mad. and then i apologized. i may be a lot of things but i don't think i deserve to die over this. please. stop. i can't deal with the death threats after what happened last year and then this year in europe. leo won. you guys won. i surrender. just stop. please. stop.
Quite simply, Arrington was being "cute," and this thing just blew up in their faces. Really, the problem is that these guys never played a game of two-hand-touch in their lives. No harm, no foul!
And who the hell is making death threats to Michael Arrington over this? Jesus. Arrington then notes in the comments that this "ruined [his] entire weekend. for fuck's sake." And why wouldn't it?
Lesson learned: gadget nerds are terrifying! I'm going back to writing about Sesame Street and hipsters. Goodbye. Freaks.
N.B. One commenter on TechCrunch noted that Arrington has been "Keyboard Catted." Which made me laugh very loudly. Gadget nerds: terrifying. But hysterical: